How to hold your hamster safely

Like a lot of small pets, hamsters can be quite nervous of being picked up. Some hamsters might enjoy being handled while others won't like it at all. Take the lead from your hamster and tailor how you interact to suit them.

If you’d like a small pet that enjoys being picked up and held, think about getting a rat or ferret instead.


Why are some hamsters frightened of being picked up?

In the wild, hamster are hunted by other animals and this makes them naturally nervous. They might try to defend themselves by biting or by jumping out of your hands.

If you hamster seems frightened when you pick them up, it might be better to pet them in their cage instead. You can feed treats to them and allow them to approach you in their own time.


How to pick up your hamster

Hamsters are really small, delicate animals and they can easily be injured if they’re handled roughly or if they’re dropped. It’s really important to learn how to pick up your hamster properly. They’ll be less likely to get injured or frightened.

Don't try to pick up your hamster when they're sleeping during the day - they'll most likely bite you. Instead, wait until early evening when they wake up and start to become active.

Adults and older children can pick up a hamster by:

  • Forming a cup with both hands on either side of the hamster.
  • Scooping up the hamster securely on both palms
  • Being careful the hamster doesn’t jump out of the top of your hands.

Young children and hamsters

We recommend that young children don’t pick up and hold hamsters. Hamsters can be easily injured if they’re dropped and can also bite when they’re frightened. Instead, younger children can feed the hamster treats and pet them while they’re in their cage.

Your hamster's diet

Our vets' advice on the ideal diet for your hamster, including safe fruit and veg to feed them. 

Read more

Hamster health

Simple steps you can take to help keep your hamster healthy.

Our vets' advice

The ideal home

Read our vets' advice on setting up the perfect home for your hamster. 

Find out more